IBM releases world's smallest movie: atomic-scale memory holds the promise of data storage 100 times greater than current hard disk technology
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“A Boy and His Atom” was created by a team at IBM's Almaden Research Center in California.
This brief film is not very long, does not have much of a plot, and does not garner many laughs, but it's so, so fascinating.
The scientists used a scanning tunneling microscope as their animation tool. The pixels are individual atoms, nudged into place to form a picture. (The Guinness folks have certified this as the smallest movie ever made.)
What's a scanning tunneling microscope, you ask? It's an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level; the development in 1981 earned its inventors,Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer (at IBM Zurich), the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.
In the film, a blocky figure interacts with an individual atom in a variety of ways before the credits, which spell out both “THINK” and “IBM” using individual atoms to form the words.